Medellín’s competitiveness is linked to innovation and technology. It is a commitment for quality work, opening to new markets and the generation of development.
When Alejandro Gómez saw the humanoid, Sophia, who interacts and holds conversations with people, in Medellín, he felt a wave in his head, a hunch that told him that in this city he had the ability to make an equally good robot, or an even better one.
The Sophia of his dreams could be at the reception of Ruta N, guide and register visitors, or better yet, at the José María Córdova International Airport to receive tourists. The robot would be able to carry out talks, ask travellers how their trips had been, explain to them where to take the transport, tell them the news of the day or what tourist sites they should visit.
A similar wave spread in Alejandro’s heart as a child and he met Savia Mente, the robot that taught about public utilities in the Interactive Museum of EPM. At that time, his dream of making robots was born, a dream that was made a reality in the Digital Americas Pipeline Initiative, DAPI, the first Artificial Intelligence Center of Colombia, created in Medellín by Ruta N and IRPA & AI, Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence of the United States.
Medellín Innovation District Ruta N
2016 - 2018
jobs generated, 1,264 in 2018.
companies attracted from 31 countries, 26 in 2018.
When Alejandro says “we have the capacity,” he means an ecosystem that is gestating in Medellín with DAPI as an articulator, and of which some 6,000 members are part, among whom there are world experts in robotic automation of processes, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence..
DAPI, which operates as an independent company, has almost assured the world market demand for the commercial connections of the IRPA & AI Institute, the first and largest global ecosystem of this type of specialties, known for its vision, experience, leadership and access to decision-makers in major companies throughout the world.
“The investment in technology and innovation breaks inequality, connects citizens and allows for the confluence
of wills and dreams of the city.”
Catalina Restrepo Carvajal, Executive Director
of ACI Medellín
This agency traditionally hires developments in India and Mexico but after evaluating several markets, such as Costa Rica, it chose Medellín as its headquarters and Ruta N as its commercial partner. The company has the business units: creating talent, selling services, forming a community of developers and startups and, at a later time, advisement of companies in specialties related to automation, machine learning, robotic processes and AI.
Thanks to the support of Procolombia and the Agency for Cooperation and Investment of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area – ACI Medellín, IRPA chose the city for conditions such as the time zone, which facilitates processes on a day-to-day basis with the United States, the cost of labor and the strengths of Ruta N, in order to develop local capacities.
“he initial doubts that the Institute had about settling in Medellín are great advantages of DAPI today: human talent, a strong partner to develop Medellín as an AI hub, guarantee long-term sustainability and promote a local ecosystem with international vision,” highlights Maria Isabel Palomino, DAPI CEO.
“El analfabetismo del futuro será la tecnología y nos preparamos para enfrentarlo. En poco tiempo Medellín será epicentro de inteligencia artificial”
María Isabel Palomino, gerente de Digital Americas Pipeline Initiative, DAPI.
ACI Medellín provided the legal and operational support, and facilitated the relationship with IRPA. In just three months of operations, DAPI has four experts in mathematics, systems engineering, electronics, physics and Artificial Intelligence. By December, there will be 24 employees and 60 in a year’s time, all enjoying benefits of quality employment: good salaries, sustainability over time and opportunities for professional growth.
“These types of initiatives, focused on training, are an opportunity to diversify the business platform in a high potential industry, such as innovation and technological infrastructure. Reducing the digital divide will allow us to reduce inequality and facilitate the creation of companies and jobs,” said Alejandro Franco Restrepo, Executive Director of Ruta N.
By 2020, Artificial Intelligence will generate 2.3 million jobs in the world. By 2021, it will contribute USD16 Trillion to the world economy
When Frank Casale, founder of IRPA & AI, arrived in Medellín, he thought about finding a less developed city. But he said he felt he was in Silicon Valley, after visiting the infrastructure of Ruta N, finding talent in profitable technology and the support of government, business and academic research communities.
For the launch of DAPI, a chatbot made the registration of the attendees, took a picture and uploaded it to the system so that later, at their entrance, a robot made in Medellín, identified those attendees through a face recognition screen and welcomed them by name.
They were dazzled, “not even at our events in the United States have we had these innovations,” said members of IRPA & AI.
That day, a wave began to expand in the minds of everyone. Many dreams were created. Knowledge of Ruta N, IRPA & AI and DAPI started to be spread to the local ecosystem. This wave also includes aligning a strategy to produce the talent that the world needs in Artificial Intelligence, exporting services from the capital of Antioquia to the world, generating business and local employment, and bringing pure mathematics and technological knowledge to life and the needs of people.
The marriage between IRPA & AI and Ruta N
- IRPA & AI is in charge of the training and commercial aspects, assembling the training modules, and connecting DAPI to the international market access network.
- Ruta N put up the startup capital to hire the staff and manages DAPI.
- The business model: to hire and train people with a minimum profile in Pytion and Javas Script programming languages to sell services
- The investment: USD250k by Ruta N, close to 750 million pesos for the first year of operations; and one million dollars of IRPA & AI, in kind, for the training of the team and development of the offer and service platform
- The services: problem solving and process optimization through artificial intelligence, bots development, robots or autonomous computer programs capable of performing human tasks, programming in RPA and specialized software
- The process: the employees have 30 to 60-day training in RPA and AI and carry out their own project as a practice
- Employment: 680 people in four years